Apart from understanding the many reasons why you should take a good probiotic—ideally with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria—an important part of maintaining optimal gut health is knowing when to take them.
The short answer: It depends on a number of factors, taking into account the health of the patient and his or her age.
For healthy adults, we suggest taking a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced on an empty stomach about a half an hour before eating your morning meal to boost your immune system and promote optimal gut health.
For children under age 8 taking a children’s probiotic in a powdered form like EndoMune Junior, mix it with a noncarbonated liquid or formula or sprinkled on soft foods before or with a meal once a day. This will reduce the amount of colic they experience and support the development of regular bowel movements, among many other benefits.
Some health experts advise not taking a probiotic after a meal, as that is when stomach acid is typically at its highest. In fact, one study found very low levels of beneficial bacteria survived when a probiotic was taken after a meal.
Many patients start taking probiotics when they’re sick, sometimes after taking an antibiotic. The bad news about antibiotics: Taking one for a single health problem like bronchitis may also destroy the healthy bacteria in your gut, causing the bad bugs to proliferate and trigger residual problems like diarrhea that can vary from mildly annoying to seriously life-threatening.
The optimal time to take a probiotic in those situations: Leaving a space of two hours between taking a probiotic and antibiotic will lower the risk of the latter destroying the live and beneficial probiotic bacteria that preserve and protect your gut health.
It’s also a good idea to consult with your doctor when he or she prescribes an antibiotic about taking a probiotic to preserve the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.